Kentucky Basketball: The 5 Biggest Underachievers in Wildcats History

Bobby ReaganFeatured ColumnistJuly 25, 2013

Kentucky Basketball: The 5 Biggest Underachievers in Wildcats History

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    It can be argued no one else in college athletics faces more pressure than those who play for Kentucky basketball. 

    The Wildcats have one of the most storied programs and their present success matches that of the past. Great coaches have patrolled the sideline, whether it was Rupp and Hall in the past or Pitino and Calipari in present times.

    While there have been overachievers at Kentucky and players who lived up to their expectations, at the same time both players and coaches have not been able to handle the pressure that comes with putting on Kentucky's blue and white. 

    The following list takes a look at the five biggest underachievers in Kentucky's history. 

5. Antwain Barbour

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    Antwain Barbour came to Kentucky as the top player in junior college and was expected to make a splash for the Wildcats.

    However, he only averaged four points and two rebounds for his career. Not exactly eye-popping numbers for someone who had offers from all the blue-blood schools including Kansas, Connecticut and Indiana. 

    A broken hand during his first season at Kentucky can be pointed at for the lack of production and setback many people believe Barbour had. However, he never truly adjusted to the game and tried to do more than he was capable of instead of playing to his strength. 

     

4. Randolph Morris

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    Randolph Morris came to Kentucky as part of the top-ranked 2004 recruiting class with Joe Crawford, Rajon Rondo and Ramel Bradley. He was supposed to be the big man that helped bring Kentucky back to the promised land.

    However, Morris had one of the most up-and-down careers in Kentucky history. He finished his career by having a monster season, averaging 16 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Physically, he overpowered every other big man in the SEC and possessed an advanced post game.

    Despite the dominating junior year and look that he could run any other big man out of the building, Morris is constantly looked at as an underachiever during his time at Kentucky.

    Whether it was declaring for the NBA draft and then returning to Kentucky or constantly looking disinterested before turning it on for a big game, Morris never lived up to the billing of a top-10 recruit. 

     

3. Rajon Rondo

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    Rajon Rondo is one of the best point guards in the NBA. He was projected to be one of the best point guards in college basketball when he was at Kentucky.

    However, he was an average player that was the king of scoring 10 points late, when the game was already decided, to help boost his average up. 

    Rondo was the cornerstone of the group that helped make up the top-rated recruiting class in 2004. However, some believe it was coach Tubby Smith that held Rondo back. Smith employed a slower-paced game, which did not fit Rondo's style, who was much better at pushing the tempo and getting up the court fast.

    Rondo averaged just under 10 points for his career to go along with four rebounds, four assists and two steals. However, there will always be a bittersweet feeling for Kentucky fans watching Rondo develop into an elite point guard in the NBA. 

2. 2012-13 Team

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    It's too hard to pick just one person as an underachiever, so the entire 2012-13 team will be lumped together. 

    After bringing in a top-rated recruiting class to fill the shoes of the champions that left, Kentucky was projected to make another run to a Final Four under John Calipari. Instead, Kentucky stumbled its way to the NIT and a first-round loss to little-known Robert Morris.

    To make it even more embarrassing, Kentucky had to lose at Robert Morris, because Rupp Arena was hosting the first couple rounds of the NCAA tournament. 

    Despite having four McDonald's All-Americans on their roster, the Wildcats suffered their first loss at Rupp Arena under Calipari and some embarrassing defeats to teams like Texas A&M, Tennessee and Georgia. 

    This will go down as one of the uglier seasons in Kentucky's history and the entire team will be looked at as underachievers. 

1. Billy Gillispie

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    Okay, so Billy Clyde wasn't a player. That doesn't mean he didn't underachieve. 

    He had the ability to take the keys to Kentucky basketball and drive as fast as he wanted to. With a roster including Patrick Patterson, Ramel Bradley, Darius Miller and Joe Crawford, Gillispie was unable to even win an NCAA tournament game.

    In fact, he only made it one time, losing to Marquette, before flopping to a trip to the NIT. 

    Gillispie had every chance to turn Kentucky into a powerhouse again but refused to listen to anyone else other than himself. He never sought out advice and underachieved by having the players turn on him. 

    Gillispie's record at Kentucky was 40-27, with a 20-12 conference record. He is often remembered as the worst coach in the Wildcats history.